This study assessed body dissatisfaction, self-esteem and attitudes as well as behaviours relating to disordered eating in adolescent boys. The results indicated that males who were dissatisfied with their bodies are equally divided between those who wish to gain weight and those who wish to lose weight. In addition exercising for physical tone, attractiveness, health, fitness and weight control were all related to measures of disordered eating, while exercising for mood, and enjoyment were not. There was no relationship between self-esteem and body weight dissatisfaction. The best predictors of satisfaction with weight were the ‘reasons for exercise’ variables. The findings are discussed in terms of differences between male and female body dissatisfaction and the cultural pressure to obtain male ideal body shapes. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.